Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tommy Hilfiger's All-American Know How

Has anyone else noticed the upswing of Tommy Hilfiger in their lives? I have always discriminated against poor old Tommy, just because I thought he was a cop out of Ralph Lauren. However, in recent seasons, their attempt to redeem their brand image has really worked, especially since I didn’t even noticed I liked their clothes until like, five minute ago. The commercials are great – exulting an All-American way of life, showing preppy models in madras and cardigans prancing around at country clubs.

It’s hard to explain the transformation, because Hilfiger has always been an All-American type brand. It’s not that their style has changed, necessarily, but maybe their image. You can’t deny in the past ten years they’ve experienced a bit of an image slump. Before recently, Hilfiger would elicit thoughts of Marshall’s discount rack and scary men wearing XXXL polo shirts. Don’t get me wrong, I love Marshall’s and totally shop there, but I’m willing to bet most fashion designers don’t hope for their brand to bring that image to mind. I don’t know when this happened, but now when I think of Tommy Hilfiger, I think of Blair Waldorf and her Gossip Girl gal pals. I also think of Vampire Weekend and Canvas Kites, but I’m pretty sure that one there is a direct result of their ad campaigns. Scary men are probably still wearing XXXL Hilfiger polo shirts, but I don’t associate them with the brand anymore. Props to whoever was in charge of their image revitalization!

It looks like Hilfiger sold his company to Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. in 2010 because of declining sales, although the man himself is still the creative heart of the brand. The move to the parent company, however, might explain why Hilfiger has seen a remarkable PR shift in the past year.

You can watch the Fall/Winter 2010 and the Spring/Summer 2011 ads below:

See what I mean? I already want to throw on as many colorful button-ups on as I can. Plaid! Blazers! Chinos! It’s like I’m in prep school heaven.

It looks like other people are noticing because Tommy Hilfiger was awarded the 2011 Spirit of Design Award from Philadelphia University. Past recipients have included Geoffrey Beene and Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein. Yeah, it’s maybe a step down from his CFDA in 1997, but the future ain’t looking too shabby for the Hilfiger family.

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